What to wear
Knowing what to wear can be a struggle, the rare times I stand in my closet and panic, I remember how some people feel like that all the time. So I thought it might be helpful to share with you how I work out what to wear to events.
First of all establish what kind of event it is (ie. Morning Dress, Black Tie, Smart Daywear, Smart Casual etc). Below you will find my more specific guides to Day and Night events.
Then decide where to shop! I always look at discount options first – partly because often memorable event wear can only be worn a couple of times because its too recognisable. Bicester Village is obviously the ultimate. The selection of stores is massive (and getting bigger), it’s a great day trip (I love having lunch in the Farmshop) and I almost always find something I am looking for.
I teamed up with Bicester Village and their travel partner Blenheim Palace to create this editorial of three event outfits. I obviously chose things that were very special because the setting was so breathtaking. For more ideas of what to wear always check my Fashion category. My next event to dress for is Monday of Chelsea Flower Show (as you know I often go to the Royal and Press Day of Chelsea with my mother and I will be again this year).
Oscar de La Renta Gown
Jimmy Choo Shoes
Tory Burch Coat
Anna Fontaine Blouse
Oscar de la Renta Skirt
Sergio Rossi Shoes
All these pieces are current stock at Bicester Village.
The variety of day events that take place in England that require specific clothes are too numerous to name, from Chelsea Flower Show to weekends in the country, your wardrobe needs to be flexible enough to work in lots of different ways. Some brands are particularly good at cross over pieces. Anna Fontaine specialises is beautiful blouses like this one. They can be worn with jeans and ballet pumps for a pub lunch, or dressed with an evening skirt from Oscar de la Renta for a Black Tie dinner. A statement blouse is well worth investing in. I also think a printed coat is a great multi purpose piece. I wear them to everything from weddings to walks in the country (I totally agree with the advice in Debrett’s and Bicester Village ‘Guide to British Style’ in this respect – stay well away from anything bright or shiny for the country – think neutrals and natural fibres). Tweed coats are particularly versatile. Tory Burch does a great selection.
I think evening events can often be the most challenging to dress for. Smart casual is a hole to stick you head into. Does that mean jeans? Should I wear heels or designer trainers? Will everyone else be in dresses or come straight from work? These questions are often shared amongst friends via WhatsApp at length on the day of the event. Fortunately in England there are often very clear guides – black tie, cocktails etc. Which it is obvious what to wear for. So although I am included inspiration images here of Black tie I’m sure you all know the drill and options for beautiful gowns. I love black tie shopping at Bicester – I often find pieces in Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Alexander McQueen and Dior there.
My advise for the more vague categories is – mix something smarter with something more casual to look different and ensure you’re neither over dressed nor under. For example a cashmere jumper (I love the N Peal ones) with lots of statement jewellery, heels and jeans – can be great for smart casual drinks parties and dinners. Equally an embellished skirt or dress with a biker jacket or denim jacket will always work, often paired with a white shirt. I also think suede and leather is a great option, I normally wear leather or suede trousers, but a dress, skirt or jacket can be super luxury without being over done, often when paired with boots.
In bloom at Blenhiem Palace